Expert offers a snapshot of the new horizon for adults ages 50+
Vancouver (PRWEB) January 18, 2011
Although there's been tremendous coverage of Boomers turning 65, the fact remains that many millions of people are also turning 50. Those individuals are entering the active-aging market with needs and desires that will help shape the industry, starting now.
“We're looking at a huge market that, in effect, embraces people ages 50 to 100 and beyond,” says Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (http://www.icaa.cc), who is among those turning 50 in 2011. “While there's bound to be some segmentation, certain values, principles, and social-economic forces are converging to the point where we can make some predictions for the market as a whole.”
1. More wellness programs. Wellness is exploding. The field has grown exponentially in the past five years and is projected to continue doing so. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents to a recent ICAA survey said they plan to expand their wellness activities. Wellness programs for older adults are growing in number. Among the 65% who have a formal wellness program, 46% of programs have been in place for 1-5 years.1
2. More wellness professionals. Among organizations and communities with wellness programs, 27% plan to add more staff.1 “We'll see more exercise physiologists, sports medicine professionals, chiropractors, orthopedists, naturopaths, and physical therapists on staff,” says Milner. However, personal training, along with other fitness jobs, is expected to grow much faster than average in the U.S., driven mainly by the needs and desires of Boomers.2
3. Convergence of rehabilitation and wellness. “After the common cold, sports injuries are the number-two reason Boomers visit their doctors. Therefore, as Boomers work to stay fit, many of them will also be working with rehab professionals,” Milner notes. “The convergence is also being driven by a focus on function. Preventing functional decline is a purview of wellness; returning people to optimal function is the purview of rehabilitation.”
4. Rejection of stereotypes of aging. “We'll see greater diversity in portrayals of aging and greater achievements by older adults,” Milner says. “Because of sheer numbers alone, companies will be focusing more on this demographic. To be successful, they will have to change their perceptions of what ‘aging' means and what older adults want.'”
5. Increase in energy-boosting solutions. According to a Natural Marketing Institute survey, 82% of older adults want to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure they have energy as they age. “This opens the door to an array of programs aimed at boosting energy, from exercise to chronic health issue support services,” Milner says. “The industry will focus on overcoming the paradox identified by researchers a few years back: 69% of older adults exercise to increase their energy level, yet lack of energy is consistently put forth as a barrier to exercise.” 3
6. Redefinition of “retirement.” Workers over 55 are expected to account for 93% of the U.S. labor force's growth through 2016, and many of these workers say they're staying on the job not for the money, but because they want to continue feeling useful and productive.4 This trend means organizations will have more opportunities to provide health management, fitness, and wellness programs to help keep older adults as productive as possible for as long as possible.
7. Technology, technology, technology. “Moving beyond the Wii, we'll see everything from immersive games for lifelong learning and participation in social causes to more sophisticated ‘brain games' and assistive devices that extend function into and through the later years of life,” says Milner. “We'll also see more innovative technologies in support of aging in place, including e-health technologies and social media.”
8. Reengineering of industries to accommodate a healthier older adult market. The global wellness market is estimated at nearly $2 trillion dollars.5 “We'll see an upsurge in wellness centers, housing, parks and recreation projects that will require new approaches by architects, developers, builders, suppliers and program-management professionals,” Milner observes.
9. Growth of “green exercise” and green communities. Hiking, trail walks, meditation gardens, labyrinths, cycling paths, gardening, and eco tourism will flourish going forward, according to Milner. Research has shown that five minutes of exercise in a park, working in garden, or in another green space benefits self esteem and mood.6 What's more, “Boomers are fueling a new era of social responsibility and environmental stewardship, and are active participants in organizational ‘green teams.'”
10. More age-friendly cities. What began as an initiative by the World Health Organization in 20077 has now trickled down to cities across the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and beyond. In its push for the continued creation of environments that foster social inclusion and social participation, WHO stresses that “Active ageing is a lifelong process, …[therefore] an age-friendly city is not just ‘elderly friendly.'” Says Milner, “if we view active aging as a process that begins at birth and continues throughout the lifespan, then this initiative can only continue to grow.”
Posted Jan 6, 2011 BY ROY LEWIS
Roy Lewis, St. Lawrence EMC, Shelly Canfield, a hearing care counsellor with The Canadian Hearing Society, shown with some alerting systems to warn deaf persons about an emergency, is working in cooperation with Brockville's Chief Fire Prevention Officer Randy Burke to establish governmental standings for devices to warn persons who are deaf or hard of hearing of a fire in their residence.
EMC News - The shrill sound of a smoke alarm warns residents of a fire, but what would happen if the person cannot hear the warning?
Representatives from community safety organizations, including police and firefighters, are scheduled to meet today (Jan. 6) in the second of a series of meetings to address the problem of alerting a deaf person to a fire in their residence, whether it is a home or apartment building. There are special devices to warn hearing impaired persons of an emergency but, depending on the circumstances, they can be costly. Also current legislation does not specifically address alarm systems for the deaf or hard of hearing.
A business plan to outline what action is to be taken will be discussed at today's meeting, which follows an initial meeting at Brockville Fire Station Number Two organized on Dec. 16 by the city's Chief Fire Prevention Officer Randy Burke after the issue was brought to his attention by Shelly Canfield, a hearing care counsellor with The Canadian Hearing Society.
"Until Shelly approached me, I did not realize there is nothing in the current standards for fire alarms that deal specifically with the hearing impaired," said Burke.
Regulations for smoke alarms are part of the Ontario Building Code, which is currently under review. Burke said the existing definition for a smoke alarm is a unit with a self-contained smoke chamber connected to electrical or battery power with an audible signal. Such a unit is of no use to a deaf person.
Canfield, who is herself hearing impaired, said the deaf communicate by lip reading, captioning, note taking or writing and sign language. The degree of deafness may vary from having partial hearing to none at all and the loss of hearing could have been all of a sudden or gradual.
In a survey conducted in 2002, the Canadian Hearing Society found almost 25 per cent of adult Canadians report having some hearing loss. A Statistics Canada survey found 1.47 million Ontario residents over the age of 65 have hearing loss and the problem is going to get worse.
"Loss of hearing is common with our aging population, which is growing," said Canfield.
Statistics also reveal that as many as 40 per cent of seniors are deaf or hard of hearing and at least 80 per cent of the elderly living in nursing homes are hearing impaired.
Firefighters responding to an alarm may call out to determine if anyone is in the building.
"If I was asleep on my good ear, I wouldn't hear them," said Canfield.
Other problems could be created if a hearing impaired person removes their hearing aid or it pops out. Putting a sticker on a window alerting emergency responders that a hearing impaired person is inside could also have the undesirable affect of notifying criminals that the residence is home to someone who might not be able to hear them entering the house.
Electronic alerting systems are available for anyone who is deaf or has a moderate to severe hearing loss to alert them to such situations as the telephone ringing, the doorbell sounding, a baby crying or a fire alarm. These systems use a flashing strobe light or strong vibration from an extended device placed under their pillow, chair or bed to alert them of a situation. They can determine what is happening through flashing symbols on a desktop alarm clock.
Under current legislation such a device could only be connected to an existing smoke alarm. Running the power to such an alarm could be costly, according to Paul Moss of Four-O-One Security, who attended the meeting. The cost of installing such equipment could be beyond the means of many hearing impaired persons, said Burke, who noted a National Fire Protection Association study indicated 19 per cent of persons with a sensory disability live below the poverty line.
One proposal that will be adopted by emergency responders is to have an alert message in the 911 dispatch system. The message would tell a 911 dispatcher a person with a hearing disability lives in the home or apartment. The information would be forwarded by radio to police, firefighters or paramedics responding to the emergency. More information will be released in coming months on how persons with disabilities could be registered in the 911 system.
Canfield urged those attending the planning session to study the problem to "get the groundwork done now and get a program up and running."
"The lack of hearing community should not be penalized because of their disability," she said.